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Патент USA US2412831

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Dec. 17, 1946.
R. A. owENs
Filed March 19, 1941
2 shee'zs-sheet 2
l I lI
BY Pay Å. Owe/75
Patented Dec. 17, 1946
Roy A. Ówens, Galveston, Tex.
Application March 19, 1941, Serial No. 384,161
12 Claims.
(Cl. 33-70)
This invention relates to a geometrical instru
ment for` measuring the Vertical angle of a body
in space, and has particular reference to an ob
is a star of the third magnitude.
In order to
obviate this di?iculty navigators frequently in
servational instrument for measuring the alti
tude of a selected celestial body. The instrument
may take the form of either a sextant, an octant,
the index mirror bring the horizon up to the
star to measure its altitude; irrespective of the `
a quadrant, or similar device and is used in a
substantially similar manner.
It is an object of this invention to provide an
observation instrument for measuring the alti
_tude of a celestial body at night or during pe
riods of reduced visibility.
It is a further object of my invention to pro
vide an observation instrument for measuring the
Vertical angle between the line of sight to the 15
selected celestial body and an observer's horizon
by considering the angular relationship between o
said line of sight and a. perpendicularto the
experience or training, because the operation of
my instrument does not require the skill and
training heretofore necessary for the accurate
manipulation of the prior art sextants which this
instrument is designed to replace.
In addition to the disadvantage, as set out
above, the majority of the prior art sextants are
particularlyv unsuited for observing falnt stars
celestial horizon.
It is another object of this invention to Dro 20 which may be ideally located for navigational
purposes. The reason these prior art sextants
vide an instrument which measures the altitude
are unsuited for this purpose is due to the in
angle of a celestial body by direct observation.
e?iciency of their optical system. The image
It is a further object of this invention to pro
of the selected body must be observed in the
vide an observation instrument for measuring the
angle of a celestial body relative to an imaginary 25 horizon and index mirrors, and as is well known
only a fraction of the amount of light falling
horizon determined and established by the in
upon the surface of a mirror is re?ected, the
strument's angular position relative to a perpen
amount of light reflected being dependent upon
dicular established by a pendulum 'or other piv
the refractive index of the mirror surface and
otally mounted and gravitationally influenced
30 the angle of incidence of the light. Thus, under
certain conditions, a large percentage of the light
is diifused or absorbed, and the image of the
It is also an object to provide an observation _
instrument by which the aititude angle of a ce
lestial body is determined by reference to a per
pendicular established by a gravitationa1 pendu
lum, with apparatus for indicating to the opera
tor the proper position of the instrument relative
to the perpendicular established by said pendu
lum or other pivotally mounted and gravitational
ly infiuenced body for corre?t observation.
re?ected oelestial object is not su?iciently lumi
nous orl Vivid for observation. By means of my
It is a still further object of my invention to 40
provide a Vertical angle determining instrument
wherein means is provided for determining the
invention, however, the celestial body is observed
" directly in the telescope, or in the eye-piece if
no telescope is used, so that its brilliance is not
appreciably reduced by the optical system, and
other disadvantages accompanying the use of the
mirrors are not therefore present.
Furthermore, the telesoopes provided with the
prior art sextants are not the best aavilable be
cause the size of the telescope is limited by the
line of sight to an object in space, and wherein
structure of these prior art sextants. In my in
the angular position of the instrument in space
relative to a perpendicular determines the line 45 vention, however, a. more powerful and moreef
?cient type of telesoope may be used, whereby '
of the observer's horizon, with means for indicat
stars which were heretofore considered too faint
ing to the operator the correct position of the
instrumentl relative to said perpendicular estab
for navigational purposes, but otherwise ideally
located, may now be observed in my sextant and
In many of the prior art sextants the image 50 their altitude accurately determined. ? o ,
A number of observational instruments have
of the selected celestial body is observed in an
been developed for measuring the altitude angle
index or horizon mirror and the operator fre
of a celestial body at night or during periods of
quently has di?iculty in bringing the image of
low visibility, but these instruments rely upon
the celestial body down to the plane of the hori
zon, particularly where the selected celestial body 65 the formation of some arti?cial horizon by means
of a bubble cell or the like, and also usually pro
lished by a gravitational pendulum.
and suitable vernier calibration common in the w
vide some means for illuminating the artiflcial
horizon, so that observational measurements may
be made at night. The skillful use of these prior
art bubble sextants can _be acquired only after
art. The arc H is engraved with applicable cali
brations and the guide IB has an open windowl or
frame through which these calibrations may be
read. The position of the arc relative to the tele
scope, as shown in Fig. 1, indicates the position
of zero altitude and the arc is calibrated so that
the altitude angle may be read directly from the
considerable practice and experience, and the
time required to make a celestial observation,
even by the most experienced operator, is often
much greater than that required through the use
of my invention, which is designed to overcome
arc. That is, correotly speaking, the angle
actually measured by the instrument is the angle
many of the disadvantages of the prior art bubble 10 less than 90° between the line of sight of the
telescope and a perpendicular established by a
It is, therefore, a specific object of my inven
gravitational pendulum. However, the arc is cali
tion to provide an instrument in the nature of
brated sothat the complement of this angle may
a sextant, quadrant or the like which may be
be read directly upon the arc, which angle
used to obtain the angle between the horizon and 15 measures the observed altitude of the celestial
any celestial body which is visible in the tele
body relative to a horizon at the observer's height
scope, quickly, accurately, and at any time re
of eye.
gardless of the visibility of the horizon and with
The telescope per se forms no part of my in
out the inherent disadvantages of the prior art
except as modi?ed for use with the in
20 strument.
bubble sextants, quadrants or the like.
For example, as illustrated, the supWith the foregoing and other objects in view,
the invention consists in the construction. com
bination and arrangement of parts hereinafter
desci'ibed and illu'strated in the drawings, in
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view showing the
observational instrument in its zero altitude posi
porting body of the telescope is of a rectangular
cross-section and has an appropriate horizontal
index 20 at the ends of the telescope, as indi
cated in Fig. 3. The eyepiece 2| carries an ad
25 justable focusing lens usually provided in this
-type of telescope, the remaining portions of which
have the usual 'telescopic lens arrangement.
Standard types of navigators' sextants are usually
Fig. 2 is an exposed elevational view of the
equipped with colored glass ?lters which may be
Operating mechanism in the handle of Fig. 1; 30 interposed between the eye of the observer and
Fig. 3 is a side view taken on line 3-3 of
the celestial object under observation. I have
Fig. 2;
modified the telescope construction by mounting
Fig. 4 is an elevational view showing a modi
along the body of the telescope several of such .
?cation of my invention; and
?lters as indicated at 22. Each of 'these ?lters
35 is pivotally secured to the body portion of the
Fig. 5 is an end view of Fig. 4.
Referring now to the drawings:
telescope, as indicated at '23, and has an op
Fig. 1 shows the instrument in its zero alti
erating lknob 24 secured to each ?lter at its pivot
tude position, that is, the position at which the
so that it may be rotated about said pivot to
horizontal index 20; Fig. 3, parallels the celestial
bring it ino the line of Sight. Stops 25 are pro
horizon. The handle of the instrument is indi 40 vided for each of the ?lter glasses to hold the
cated generally at IO. One end of an are H is
filter glass in the upright position, as indicated in
secured directly to this handle while the other
Fig. 1. The advantage of this construction over
end of the arc Il is ?xed to an end of a sup
the prior art resides in the fact that the ?lters
porting bracket l2. This bracket |2 is also
are enclosed within the body of? the telescope
secured to an end of the handle opposite the end
and are not exposed to grime, dirt, or any mar
to which the arc is secured to as to form a sup
.ring which would tend to obstruct the passage of
port for the arc H at both of its ends. A tele
light therethrough, tending to distort the ob
scope body |3 is pivoted to this assembly com
served object or image or render it less distinct.
prising the handle, the arc and the supporting
Furthermore,A these ?lters are not as easily
bracket, so that the angular position of the tele- „ damaged as are the exposed ?lters of the prior
scope relative to the supporting structure may be
art sextants;
adjusted, and the said angular position indicated
For a more complete understanding of my in
by suitable calibrations' on the arc.
vention, the Operating mechanism which is
The supporting body of the telescope is of
mounted within the handle and serves to indi
rectangular cross-section in the specific illus JT) cate the proper position of the handle relative
trated embodiment to provide a flat surface to
to the telescope for correct observation will now
which the handle assembly may be pivoted. The
be described. As shown in Fig. 1, the handle is ,
pivotal connection, as illustrated, is in the form
provided with a button 28 which is pressed in
of a hinge indicated at 14, although obviously
wardly by the operator as the handle is gripped.
any other suitable type of pivotal connection may (i U This button controls the release of an Operating
be used. As a matter of convenience I have
mechanism positioned within the handle, which
illustrated an arc of a length equal to 90°, al
mechanism will cause at least`one or the other
though an arc of less than 90° would be sum
of the two remaining buttons 21 to vibrate if the
cient to measure the altitude of the celestial
bodies most frequently used for navigational pur
c handle is not' held in the proper position for cor
poses. 'This arc ll carries on its outer perlphery
a toothed rack [5 with which a pinion gear IG
is in driving engagement to provide for delicate
precise adjustment of the angular position of
said telescope and supporting structure. The
knurled Operating thumb wheel H is provided
to facilitate adjustment of the telescope by means
of the rack |5 and pinion IG.
A framed arc guide I 8 is secured to the body
of the telescope and is provided with an index 75
rect observation. In| the illustrated embodiment
the handle is always moved away from the vibrat
ing button to properly position the same.
The Operating mechanism within each han
dle is shown in Figs. 2 and 3, and comprises a
gravitational pendulum 30, pivotally supported in
the handle at 3|. This pendulum is provided to
establish a true perpendicular relative to the ob
server's horizon and carries at its pivoted end a
rocker arm 32 which also has pivotally secured
at each end thereof the vibration transmitting
wedge members 33. Movement of both the wedg
ing members 33 is restricted to a straight line
path by means of the leaf spring 34 secured there
to and the guides Ifor the leaf springs formed by
the pins 35. Adjustable stops 36 are provided
supported in the handle so as to have a lateral
movement with respect thereto similar to the
vibratory buttons 21. The leaf spring 58 re
siliently holds the lever in the position illus
trated, wherein the detent 51 engages the teeth
of the gear wheel 44 and the button 28 is pushed
at each side of the pendulum so that the angle
of the handle. As the button 28 is
of swing of `the pendulum may be adjusted.
pressed inwardly by the operator the detent 51
These vibratory buttons 21 are supported in the ~
disengages the toothed gear wheel 44 and per
walls forming the handle so that each may have 10
it to rotate, driving the gear 46 and shaft 41.
a limited' movement laterally of the handle and
A further embodiment of my invention is illus- v
are each provided with a coil spring 26 which
trated by Fms. 4 and 5. In this modi?cation the
surrounds the extending s'hank of the button and
angular position of the teiescope relative to the
is positioned between the surface 'of the inner
is indicated on the dials 60 and 6|. The
wall of the handle and a ?ange 23 formed on 15 dial 60 is geared over a portion of its periphery
the button's shank at its inner end, soas to hold
at 52 so as to engage the pinion 63, which is driv
the button inwardly to the limit of its move
ingly secured to the dial 6|. In the illustrated
embodiment dial 60 is shown calibrated in steps
Now, as the handle is gripped by the operator,
of ?fteen degrees from zero to'ninety degrees,
the buttons 21 are usually positioned between 20 while dial 6| is calibrated from zero to ?fteen de
the fore?nger and -thumb of the operator's hand
grees and fractions thereof. A suitable vernier 66
so that the vibrations transmitted to either of
is also provided to accurately indicate the frac
these buttons by a mechanism to be described
tions of the divisions of the calibrations on the
may be readily detected.
dial 6|. The indexes 64 and 65 are provided to
The vibration transmitting apparatus com
indicate the proper reading of each dial.
prisesl a simple spring driven mechanism which
In other respects, the Operating mechanism of
includes a main spring casing 31 secured to a
this modiflcation is identical with that illustrat
driveshaft 40, rotatably supported in a bearing
ed in Figs. l to 3, and similar reference numerals
~ 38 and extending outwardly of the handle through
are used to indicate corresponding parts.
an opening provided therein to form a winding
I wish it to be understood that I do not intend i
spindle, as illustrated in Fig. 3. The end of this
shaft is constructed so that a winding key may
be inserted into the opening of the handle to
engage the shaft to “wind up” the spring secured
thereto. For the sake of clarity 'of the drawing,
this spring is not shown; however, one end of
the coil spring is secured to the driveshaft and
the other end is secured to either the handle or
the shaft supporting structure comprising the ~
_bearing 38. A ratcheting mechanism is provided
so that the spring will not immediately uncoil
without driving the shaft. I have shown in Fig.
3 a detent 4| and ratchet wheel 42 for accom
plishing this purpose. The spring and wind
ing mechanism is not illustrated with any degree
of particuiarity because the operation of the type
of spring motor is well known, and furthermore,
to be limited to the particular structural arrange- '
ments herein set forth, for while I have illus
trated mechanical means only for indicating to
the operator the proper position of the handle
for correct observation, this is because it is the
preferred form of my invention, "notwithstandin'g
the fact that I recognize that electrically actu
ated signalling means may be provided.
` The operation of my device is as followsz:
The operator takes the instrument with the
handle and the telescope in the position indicated
in Fig. 1. The operator then points the telescope
directly -toward the selected ceiestíal body so as
to center the body in the telescope by means of
.'the horizontal reference line 20. If the selected
ceiestíal body has a visible disc ythe telescope is
positioned so that the transverse line 20 is tan
because I do not propose to be' limited to any
gent to either the upper or lower limb of the se
particular illustrated arrangement. " The main
lected ceiestíal body. While holding the tele
casing 31 which is secured to the spring driven
scope in this position with one hand the pinion
shaft 40 has a geared ?ange 43 formed thereon
gear I 8 is moved by the adjustment wheel |1 to
which meshes with the gear 44 rotatably sup
` provide for accurate ?nal- adjustment as the alti
ported in the bearing 45. This gear in turn
tude of the body changesf
meshes with the small gear wheel 46 secured
Whenever the handle is moved out of its exact
to the shaft 41 which is rotatably supported at' '7 Vertical position one of the vibration transmit
each end thereof. A governor, indicatedgen
ting wedging members 33 will be moved into a
erally at 48, is provided on this shaft to limit
position between the vibration transmitting rod
the speed of rotation thereof. The rotary move
53 and the button 21 so that the movement ol"
ment of the shaft 41 is converted into a recipro
the rod 53 is transmitted directly to either of the
catory or vibratory movement by means of the Gil buttons, depending upon the position of the han
eccentric 50 to which the shaft is keyed.
dle. That is, the handle is always moved away
from the vibrating button. The pendulum 30
A collar 5| is positioned about the eccentric
establishes the perpendicular reference =line and
so that the eccentric, may rotate freely therein
and the lateral movement thereof may be trans
when the handle is held so that its axis is paral
_- lel to or coincides with this line, both of the vibra- '
mitted to the connecting rods 52 connected there
to. The connectíng rods :re each pivotally se
tion transmittíng wedges are held above the space
between the vibrating rods 53 and the buttons
cured to the vibration transmitting rods .53, the
movement of which is restricted toa straight line
21. In this position the vibration or movement
path by the guides 54.
of the rods will not be transmitted to the buttons,
and by this means the operator can determine
The release or stop mechanism is illustrated
the proper position of the handle for correct ob-'
in Fig. 2, and comprises`a centraliy pivoted lever
servational measurement of the selected ceiestíal
55, one end ofiwhich is provided with a de
bodies' laltitude.
tent 51, the other end of which engages the inner
Other modi?cations and changes in the num
end of the release button 28. This button 28 is 75
ber and arrangement of ` the parts may be made
by those skilled in the art without departing from
the nature of this invention, within the scope of
what is hereinafter claimed.
I claim:
1. A vertical angle determining instrument in
cluding a frame comprising :an arc bar having
degrees marked thereon, and, a handle therefor,
means for directly observing, a selected celestial
arc to indicate thereon the angular position of
said ?rst named means, means comprising a
gravitational pendulum movable relative to said
arc for establishing a perpendicular, signal means
controlled by relative angular relation of said
pendulum and angle measuring arc for determin
ing the proper position of said measuring are
relative to said perpendicular so that the angu
lar position of said ?rst named means as indi-`
cated on said scale will be the observed altitude
said means being adjustably supported on said
of the selected celestial body at the observer'sV
frame so that its angular position relative there
heig'ht of eye.
to may be indicated on said arc, means for ob
6. The invention as de?ned by claim 5, where
taining a delicate precise adjustment of the posi
in said last named means comprises avibrator,
tion of said ?rst named means on saidiarc,` a
gravitational pendulum pivoted to said frame for 15 and means for transmitting the vibrations there
of to the operator when the arc is in an improper
establishing a perpendicular, and signal means
position relative to said pendulum _for correct
controlled by relative angular relation of said
pendulum and frame for indicating the proper
7.'An observational instrument for measuring
horizontal position of said frame relative to the
perpendicular established Iby said pendulum 20
ing means for directly observing the said celestial
whereby the angle indicated on said arc will be
body to establish a line Aof sight to said body, a
the observed altitude of the celestial body at the
supporting handle secured to said means so as
observer's height of eye.
to have movement relative thereto, said handle
“ 2. The invention de?ned by claim 1 wherein
having a gravitationally in?uenced body pivot
said first named means comprises a telescope and
ally supported therein for establishing a perpend
said signal means lcomprises a vibrator positioned
body to determine the line of sight to said body,
` in the handle of said instrument, with additional
means responsive to the relative position of the
dicular relative to the observer's horizon, lmeans
for producing touch det?ctable vibrations con
pendulum and handle whereby vibrations pro
trolled by the relative angular relation of said
not parallel to or coincident with the perpendicu
lar established by said ?rst named means, where
by the operator when holding said handle will as
aresult of said vibrations be advised of the rela
tive position of said pendulum and said handle.
said perpendicular, and means for accurately
^measuring the angle between a zero reference
duced by said vibrator will be transmitted to said 30 'handle and pivoted body for indicating the cor
rect angular position of said handle relative to
handle When the Vertical axis of said handle is
line carried 'by said handle and the line of sight
established by said ?rst named means.
the Vertical angle of an object in Space relative
to the observer's horizon comprising a supporting
8. The invention as de?ned in claim 7 charac
teri'zed by the fact that said touch detectable
vibration producing means comprises t'wo buttons
supported by said handle on opposite sides of its
said object by direct observation, means securing
ment between said handle and said ?rst named
cating the Vertical angle between a reference 1ine'_
pivoted body for transmitting vibrationsI to one
of said buttons when the longitudinal axis of
1 3. An observational instrument for measuring
member for establishing a horizontal reference 40 longitudinal axis so as to be movable transversely
thei'eof in a path parallel to the plane of move
line, means for establishing the line of sight to
means, a vibrator po-sitioned in said handle,
the supporting member to said means so that the
means controlled by the relative tilt from a pre
Vertical angle between said means and said sup
porting member may be adjusted, means for indi if) determined relation between said handle and
established by said supporting'member and the
. line established by said ?rstnamed means, a`
said handle falls on one side of the perpendicular
established by said body, and means' for trans
support member for establishing a Vertical ref 50 mitting vibrations to the other of said buttons
When the longitudinal axis of said handle falls
erence, and signal means Controlled by relative
gravitationally influenced body pivoted to said
angular relation of said gravitationally in?uenced
body and said supporting member for indicating
to the operator the correct position in which the
supporting member must be held relative to said
Vertical established by said gravitationally in?u
on the opposite side of the perpendicular estab
lished by said pivotal body whereby the vibrat
` ing button will be tactilely detected by the op
erator to indicate the direction said handle must
be moved to bring its longitudinal axis into its
proper position relative to the perpendoular for
correct observational measurement of the alti
tude of the selected celestial body.
with reference to the horizon at the observer's
9. An observational instrument for measuring
height of eye when vthe line of sight has been es 60
the Vertical angle of an object in space relative
tablished by said ?rst named means.
to an observer's ho-rizon comprising means for
4. The invention as de?ned by claim 3 where
directly observing the said celestial body to estab
in said last named means comprises a Vibrator,
enced body so that the angle indicating means
will give the observed Vertical angle of the object
` . means for transmitting the vibrations thereof to
lish a line of Sight to said body, a supporting
which the support member must be moved to
bring its horizontal vreference line into the posl
cured to said means so that its longitudinal axis
lies in a Vertical plane containing said line of
. said operator for indicatíng the direction in 65 member having a longitudinal axis pivotally se
tion for correct observation.
sight, a gravitational pendulum pivoted thereto
for establishing a perpendicular relative to the
5. An observational instrument for measuring
the altitude angle of a selected celestial body 70 observers horizon, signaling means controlled by
relative angular relation of said pendulum and
comprisingl means for directly observing the said
supporting member for indicating the correct po
celestial body to establish the line of sight to said
sition of said pendulum relative to said longitudi
body, an angle measuring are having an indicat~_
nal axis of said supporting member, and means
ing scale thereon, means for pivotally securing
said ?rst named means to said angle measuring 75 for measuring the angle between a zero reference
mark formed on said supporting member and said
?rst named means.
10. A device as per claim 9, said signaling
means comprising a pair of vibratable members
positioned to be contacted by the operator, vibrat
means Controlled by the tilt of said supporting
structure relative to said gravitationally influ
enced body for causing a corresponding one of
said members to be vi'brated, depending upon
which side of said plane said zero reference hap
ing mechanism and means Controlled by relative
pens to 'be located.
tili'. from a predetemiined relation between said
12. In an instrument having an optical sys
supporting member and said pendulum to trans
tem for obtaining an observatlonal measurement
mit vibrations from said mechanism to a corre
sponding one of said vibratable members, de 10 of the Vertical angle of an object in space rela-`
tive 'to a plane parallel to the horizon, a frame
pending upon the direction of relative tilt.
forming a supporting structure for said optical
11. An instrument for measuring the Vertical
system, said frame being provided with an arc
angle of an object in space relative to a plane
parallel to the observer's horizon, comprising an
optical system, a supporting structure therefor
having an angle measuring means secured there
to for measuring the angle 'between the object '
observed in said system and a zero reference on
said means, a gravitationally in?uenced body
pivoted to said supporting structure, signaling
bar having degrees marked thereon, a. gravita
tionally in?uenced body pivoted to said frame,
and means for producing touch detectable vibra
'tions controlled by relative angular relation of
said gravitationally ln?uenced body and frame
for lindicating the proper horizontal position of `
said frame relative to said gravitationally influ
enced body for correct observational measure
means comprising a pair of vibratable members zo ment.
positioned to be contacted by the observer, and .
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